8/16/2014 12:28 A.M. ET
Mejia bounces back strong after rough stretch
By Tim Healey / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- As Jenrry Mejia threw his warmup pitches prior to the top of the ninth inning on Friday night, a familiar -- but unusual, given the circumstances -- tune blasted from the Citi Field public address system: Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."
Mejia successfully closed out the Mets' 3-2 win, any inspiration from the closer's new warmup song apparently failing to manifest in the form of a comeback for the Cubs. That's fine by Mejia, though, because as far as he's concerned, the intended message wasn't for the trailing visitors, but for the Mets and their fans, who shouldn't stop believing in themselves or the team in a big-picture sense.
Mejia certainly isn't. He pitched a perfect ninth inning for the second game in a row Friday following three days of rest, which came immediately after he blew a save and revealed he has been playing with a hernia on Sunday. That capped a stretch in which he allowed runs in three of four outings, his worst series of appearances since early June.
Though the injury will require constant monitoring, it's hardly a threat to Mejia's ability most days.
"I think the rest has helped him out," manager Terry Collins said. "He's never mentioned the hernia, he's never mentioned the leg. I think the rest, just got some life back in the arm. He's been used a lot. We have to monitor that."
Added Mejia: "Today [the back] felt good. Maybe tomorrow, I don't know how I'm going to feel."
Mejia is also nursing a sore right calf that caused him to exit a game last week. Although that situation will also be one the Mets watch, it does not seem to be much more than the typical wear and tear players deal with at this time of year.
Friday, the calf was only "a little bit" of an issue, according to Mejia.
"Not like before," Mejia said. "Now it feels better."
Ice Bucket Challenge extra meaningful for Campbell
NEW YORK -- The Mets participated in the latest viral fundraiser on Thursday at Citi Field, taking part in the Ice Bucket Challenge that is meant to raise awareness of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The team stepped onto the warning track near the home dugout during an unusually cool August afternoon in Queens as some Mets (mostly veterans) dumped eight buckets of ice water on others (mostly rookies).
For one of those rookies, Eric Campbell, the Mets' participation in the cause carried extra significance. One of the driving forces behind the Ice Bucket Challenge is Pete Frates, Campbell's former Boston College teammate who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. Frates can no longer walk or talk.
"For [the Mets] to take the time out and do this, I'm sure it means a lot to everybody who has either been involved or has somebody that's been affected by it," Campbell said. "It's awesome. Whatever can raise more awareness for it, the more people that get involved, the better."
During Frates' time as a college baseball player, he left his mark on Campbell and countless others. When Campbell was still in high school and on a visit to B.C., Frates -- then just an underclassman -- was one of the first people he met on campus.
"[Frates] really made me feel at home there. He was overly nice to me and my parents," Campbell said. "You meet a lot of players [while visiting], but when you're eating breakfast in the cafeteria, he left his table and came over to my table just to make sure we were enjoying our stay and letting us know that anything we need, to call him. Little stuff like that, that's the type of guy he is."
Frates captained the Eagles in 2007, Campbell's second of three seasons at B.C. before the Mets took him in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
"Anyone that ever meets [Frates] would be instant friends with him," Campbell said.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has garnered a great deal of attention in the last few weeks, and it has reportedly raised millions of extra dollars for ALS research. It consists of a person (or group) dumping ice water on themselves, then challenging a handful of other people (or groups) to do the same -- as well as make a donation.
The Jets put the Mets up to the task earlier this week. The Mets then challenged the SNY broadcasting team of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez, as well as Jon Stewart, the host of "The Daily Show."
"Hopefully, everyone just takes a minute to Google what ALS is and what it does to your body," Campbell said. "It's a chance to learn about it."
• Jacob deGrom (right rotator cuff tendinitis) is expected to throw for the first time on Saturday. The Mets originally expected the rookie right-hander to miss just two starts -- putting him on track to start sometime next weekend -- but manager Terry Collins doesn't know if that is still the case.
"Is he going to come off [the disabled list] in time? History would say yeah, probably, due to the issue he had," Collins said. "He may not. I have no idea."
• Ruben Tejada, who has not started in a game in over a week since the Mets named Wilmer Flores their No. 1 shortstop, will start a game against the Cubs this weekend.
"He's got to get out there," Collins said. "Wilmer's played a week straight now, there's no reason he can't have a day [off] here and there."
• The Mets formally released outfielder Chris Young on Friday. Young was designated for assignment Aug. 9.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.